Google’s search algorithm increasingly considers entities and intent. Do keywords still matter in SEO? You bet! Here are the reasons.
Keyword rankings have been a critical metric for SEO professionals for years.
Rankings are not important at all – they only matter when they bring business value, i.e., traffic, revenue, conversions.
Google is now brighter and better at understanding user intentions. Its algorithms have a better sense of context, meaning, and semantics, so keywords should always be connected to your content.
Are keywords still valuable today?
There is no quick answer. The short answer to whether keywords are necessary to compile a list of relevant files for a specific informational need is no.
Keywords influence Google’s indexing and retrieval systems, so the answer to your question is yes.
Let’s have a closer look.
SEO Keywords: What are they?
Keywords are keywords that consumers use to find the information they need online. The search bar on their browser allows them to type the terms. These are usually composed of one or two words that describe what they are looking for.
There are many different types of keywords:
- Local and global
- Brand + Geography
- Brand + Product
Here are four ways keywords can help brands.
1. Keywords are a way to identify user intent.
Keywords can be used to direct searchers. They are valuable clues that “point” to the content searcher is trying to retrieve.
However, there is still a problem with the vocabulary between the index system (and end-users), who have many different ways of asking for the same thing.
Google and the other search engines also have advanced query expansion technology.
A user may type “fish tank” and get the first result. It is possible to see the results for tropical fish aquariums, but this may not be the best match.
Timestamps added to keywords in an index for temporal analyses show how fresh they are to help detect trends. Event detection is then required for news results. You can find more information here.
The answer is yes.
Users aren’t likely to know what they’re searching for. Search engines would not be necessary if they knew.
2. Keywords can help you locate fantastic distance opportunities.
When researching prospects, I always consider visibility. This allows me to determine what keyword rank is in various zones, such as striking distance and developmental.
One example: A client who was searching for “business consulting” was not far from me.
I checked the page to determine why they weren’t ranking for their targeted keyword. I noticed that the page didn’t include all of the topics related to business consulting.
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We helped them build external links to expand the content and get them to rank on page 1 for “business consulting” within three months.
3. Keywords are a way to identify the right target audience.
A content gap can be identified when we conduct a competitive analysis. We compare keyword visibility for prospects or clients with the competitive set.
They might not have enough content to cover the topic if their content isn’t optimized or ranking well.
A financial client wanted me to rank him for “kids” bank accounts.
Our competitor visibility analysis revealed many competitors rank for “teen bank accounts,” while my client’s page title, headings, and body content did not include “teen check account.” Therefore, it did not rank for that term.
But children and teens do not have to be confused.
After creating content for “teen banking account” instead, optimizing it, marking it up with schema, and building content around it, conversion rates increased by 13% YoY.
The keyword “teeny bank account” was used to identify the target audience.
USAA is the only site that has any teen keywords. The screenshot below shows that no website in the top 10 has “kid bank accounts” in its title.
4. Keywords help drive traffic.
It is not difficult to see that Google’s first page receives the majority of clicks. The top results alone account for 28.5%.
SEO.com is the #1 search engine for “SEO company, ” with 16K monthly queries. Therefore, 28.5% of clicks should translate into 4,560 visits per month from this single keyword.
Increased visibility on the first pages can result in significant incremental traffic. This can help increase sales for keywords with high volume.
A low-volume keyword ranking is useless. Instead, concentrate your efforts on keywords with high volumes and comprehensive content that answers the questions end-users will find helpful.
Many clients and articles place too much emphasis on the success stories of keyword keywords instead of measuring their impact (or lack thereof).
One keyword could be more potent than 100 keywords.
Do Keywords Still Need to Be Tracked?
Answer: Keywords are valuable because they deliver traffic, conversions, visibility, and sales in prime locations.
It can be costly to track keywords for enterprise-level brands that have many products or services. There are thousands, if not millions, of keywords that can be monitored across mobile and desktop.
It is good to have a gold keyword list that includes terms that bring the most business value to your brand.
A brand wants to find out what the highest-volume keywords are and how they can get as much traffic from those keywords. It is sensible to track a few hundred keywords in each core business line and area for the enterprise-level brand.
Tips for Finding the Right Keywords
Be a customer before you begin to use many keyword research tools. Always ask, “What’s the purpose of this website?”
If you can answer this question, you are on the right track to define your audience and your keyword strategy.
One example: A few weeks ago, I was having some decorating done to my apartment.
The man from the company spoke about a specific type of coating that could be used on windows frames. I did not know this existed. I do not know where to look for it.
Google will help me solve the problem.
Every client should think like the end-user and begin all content with a description of their problem before discussing their fantastic solution.
Paid search data, if available, is one of my favorite sources for keyword research data. Historical produced search data can be used to determine what content you should create.
SEO is ultimately about converting qualified traffic into customers. It doesn’t matter if you get a lot of traffic, but not many people convert.
Keywords can be useless.
It’s 2021, and still, many SEO pros and websites are focusing on keyword density. Information flash: Keyword density is irrelevant.
Do not try to insert keywords into your content. You won’t get higher rankings if your primary keyword is 10% KD.
Writing content that meets the informational needs of users is your goal.
I still see websites using the keyword meta tag. Google has devalued this long ago. It doesn’t have any ranking value and won’t move the needle.
Last but not least, it is not a good idea for your links to use exact match link text. Anchor text should include both brand and nonbrand keywords with different variations.
Google is very sophisticated. If you have too many keywords that exactly match the anchor text links, Google can set off an alarm, and you could be penalized.
Keywords can bring business value to clients and prospects when they rank high on Google for high volume terms. This is where 90%+ of clicks take place.
The ability to run ranking reports and look at keywords that rank within different visibility zones can help you find opportunities to expand your landing page content.
Keywords will remain relevant for a long time. They will continue being used as a signal to indicate the type of content searchers are trying to find.